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The Good Life: Consumers are Incorporating Their Pet’s Products into Their Own Lifestyle

Glenn Polyn//July 1, 2024//

The Good Life: Consumers are Incorporating Their Pet’s Products into Their Own Lifestyle

Glenn Polyn //July 1, 2024//

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Particularly since the pandemic, pets have become integral parts of the household for Gen Z and Millennial consumers. A 2022 study by Rover found that 1 in 10 pet parents are choosing to “raise” pets over children, due to reasons that include the lower net cost of care. The study found that this is most true for Gen Z at 23 percent and Millennials at 22 percent.

According to the study, pet parent priorities and purchasing behaviors indicate a shift toward products and services that better align with personal values and lifestyles. Despite the added costs, 54 percent of dog parents prioritize nutritious and fresh-ingredient dog food, and another 28 percent favor “green” and eco-friendly pet products.

While pets have always been perceived as family, platforms such as TikTok and Instagram have given pets a newfound identity. Instead of merely being man’s best friend, pets have their own personalities that shine through their daily routines or wellness rituals. As pet owners prioritize pet habits and self-care on social media, the need for personalized pet products also has soared.

ANDMORE is an omnichannel wholesale marketmaker that creates opportunities for wholesale buyers and sellers to connect, grow and prosper through physical markets, design centers and digital channels. The company owns and operates more than 20 million square feet of premium event and showroom space, hosting live events in Atlanta, Las Vegas and New York City and High Point, North Carolina.

“ANDMORE’s breadth and depth in gift category offerings allows us to serve every customer, ensuring that we satisfy the needs of even the most niche buyer,” said Dorothy Belshaw, ANDMORE president. “From the gift retailer looking to add more pet-influenced items in the retail mix to the pet retailer eager to discover the new and next of pet specialty, Atlanta and Las Vegas are the places to be for both – and anyone in between.”

According to Belshaw, Atlanta and Las Vegas both offer pet brands that draw inspiration from day-to-day human life while catering to furry friends. Haute Diggity Dog – available in both Atlanta and Las Vegas Markets – is known for pet humanization. Toy collections like Chewy Vuiton, Fursace and The Muttini Bar, featuring Apawrol Spritz, Pups Blue Ribbon and Pawtron Tequila plush toys, mimic pet parents’ favorite brands so leisure aligns for two- and four-legged friends.

Atlanta Market is the nation’s leading gift marketplace with more than 700 permanent showrooms carrying a broad spectrum of general gift to pet specialty resources. Alongside pet products, buyers can find complimentary items such as pet-themed stationery, holiday decor and drinkware. Known for its dog macarons, Bonne Et Filou attracts the pampering parent, with themed treats including Easter/Spring bundles, Happy Birthday packs and a Dog Advent Calendar complete with 24 holiday treats for canine companions.

Other notable pet brands at Atlanta Market are Haute Diggity Dog (pop culture plush toys); Good Thomas (matching dog and owner shirts); Dock & Bay (dog towels); The Foggy Dog (collars, beds and accessories); Howligans (dog accessories); Audrey’s – Your Heart’s Delight (dog toy chest, dog bed); Waboba (dog fetching balls); Big Daddy Biscuits (organic dog treats); Lazy One (dog pajamas and bandanas).

Many pet product categories have been greatly impacted by the humanization of companion animals. Restorative pet products have become an increasingly popular trend. Pet wellness is no longer trips to the vet. Today’s pet owners are investing in calming lotions and bath products, creating spa experiences and wellness routines for their furry friends.

It’s difficult to miss the humanization factor of Barktista Dog Coffee, a newcomer to the pet industry. According to Michele Sykora, owner of the brand, the inspiration for Barkista came from Thai, her male retriever that had an addiction to coffee.

“Thai is a lab/golden cross that absolutely was on a mission every morning to drink out of our coffee mug,” Sykora laughed. “Every time we set our mug down or walked away, we caught him sneaking a lick or two of our coffee.”

Sykora knew that coffee isn’t safe for dogs, so she and her business partners decided to create a safe version of coffee made for dogs, using mushrooms instead of real coffee. The solution would not only give Thai a latte of his very own, it also would help keep him healthy and hydrated.

“People love including their pets in all aspects of their life,” said Sykora. “Now, pet parents can finally include their dog in their morning cup of coffee. We like to say that not only is Barkista Dog Coffee a fun, hydrating treat for your dog, it’s also another way to bond with your pet.”

Barkista is crafted from goats’ milk and 100 percent natural flavors. According to Sykora, the dog coffee has calming properties from its proprietary blend of medicinal mushrooms. She notes that dog owners will give Barkista coffee to their dog before leaving for work in the morning to reduce separation anxiety.

“We aim to target millennial pet parents who enjoy dogs and coffee culture,” she added. “As a millennial myself, I think my two favorite things on this earth are my dog and my coffee. Pet parents can get creative with being their dog’s “barkista” and create fun lattes. We see our product thriving with consumers who look at their dogs as more than a pet. Nothing is cuter than uploading a video of your pup drinking coffee on Instagram.”

In 2024 and beyond, pet owners are prioritizing cozy cocoons as well as bowls, elevating daily pet habits into comforting and luxurious experiences. Among the consumer demands for pet beds and bowls, colors no longer can be drab, and the materials used in making many home pet accessories are typically the same as those used in human housewares. Today’s leading pet brands that specialize in bowls and beds stay connected with pet lovers to remain up to date on consumer demand.

In 2004, Gretchen George saw an opportunity to develop a line of pet feeders that not only coordinated with modern home and kitchen décor, but also complemented the desired décor. With that as her core goal, PetRageous Designs was born.

“I had a background in housewares and the opportunity to utilize the design concepts in that space with the growing pet business that was there,” said George, president of PetRageous Designs. “We certainly achieved that, and those principles and design techniques have been instilled in our talented design team.”

Known for its fashionable and practical products for dogs and cats, PetRageous Designs offers an extensive hard line focused on dedicating pet dining areas that include stoneware bowls, stainless steel bowls, elevated diners and coordinating placemats. The brand has gained a following for its feeding line, which is specifically designed to blend with and complement modern home décor.

According to George, this emphasis on a pet dining area “creates an attractive place in the home where pets know they’ll be receiving their food and water.”

“We design all our bowls, placemats and feeders with home design in mind, and you can see this in our color selections and patterns,” she added. “We absolutely see our products as pet lifestyle products. Functionality married with enhanced design drives our product development. First and foremost, we develop products that have a meaningful purpose in the day-to-day life of both pets and their owners. We incorporate features that benefit the lifestyle of the pet and the owner, with the goal of making their time together more enjoyable, easier and rewarding.”

Established by 3TBrands, a family-owned company with more than 90 years of experience in the baby product business providing wellness for infants and peace of mind for their parents, Tall Tails was created to bring the same benefits to people and their fur babies. Tall Tails has a wide range of beds, fleece blankets and throws that can be used separately or in combination with one another for additional warmth and comfort.

Designed with Tall Tails’ Real Feel Fabric, the brand’s Cuddle Bed was designed for pet owners who prioritize both style and comfort for their pets. One of the standout features of this bed is its neutral colorways, which allow it to seamlessly blend into any interior design scheme. The brand has recently launched a new colorway, khaki, enabling it to be a perfect match with its khaki Waterproof Blanket.

“Whether your home is modern, rustic, or classic, the Tall Tails Cuddle Beds will complement any home aesthetic beautifully,” said George Barton, director of marketing for Tall Tails. “Beyond its aesthetic appeal, this bed is crafted with the utmost care and attention to detail, ensuring both durability and comfort for pets of all kinds. The super-soft materials used in its construction provide a cozy retreat for pets to curl up in and feel safe and secure.”

Founded by Pavan Bapu and Luke Wilson, Houndsy is a brand that’s turning heads with its Kibble Dispenser, a pet feeder that resembles a piece of fine furniture, thus enhancing a home’s décor. The Kibble Dispenser was designed for dog parents who value convenience and interior design.

“We created a pet feeder that also duals as a piece of furniture that can be proudly displayed in any of your primary living spaces – alongside your living spaces and not tucked in a corner,” said Bapu. “I used to keep my kibble in an ugly, plastic storage bin tucked away in a remote corner of my home. Some keep their kibble in the original bag it came in, likely lumped inside a pantry closet. Humans proudly eat food in communal living spaces: the kitchen, the living room, the family room. We don’t constrain ourselves to a small, isolated space or corner of the home. That’s barbaric. Eating is a communal activity that should be done in the open so you and your pets can enjoy the ambiance of open spaces and socialize with others.”

With the Kibble Dispenser, the pet parent cranks a handle at standing height, and it dispenses the perfect portion of food. The brand recently launched a mid-century modern ceramic water bowl nestled in a sleek wood base. The perfect complement to the Kibble Dispense, the elegant bowl boasts a generous 10 inches of diameter, accommodating up to 100 ounces of water.

When the Carolina Pet Company launched nearly 20 years ago, its founders Penny Stolfe, Gerry Kitch, Christian Theodore and Ed Bobowski realized they needed some significant points of differentiation to not only flourish but survive in the crowded and competitive pet space.

The founders decided on five pillars, which included assisting companies interested in developing their own proprietary brands or private label collections with Carolina Pet’s product design and sourcing services.

This led to Carolina Pet connecting with Pendleton Woolen Mills, renowned for its styles that resonate with a culture that values durability, functionality and a connection to America’s heritage. The iconic brand was looking to get into the pet space and, upon learning about Carolina Pet, did its due diligence and determined the two companies shared a similar DNA.

The Pendleton Pet Collection currently offers nearly 1,000 SKUs that complement Pendleton’s classically casual ready-to-wear and home goods collections with an extensive assortment. The Pendleton Pet Collection includes beds, collars and leashes, wearables, toys and grooming aids.

Carolina Pet co-founder Stolfe, who is a longtime fan of the 1998 classic cult movie “The Big Lebowski,” created the Pendleton Big LeBARKski Collection, a vibrant line of pet products anchored by the Pendleton Westerly sweater that The Dude (played by Jeff Bridges) wore throughout the film. Crafted from acrylic knits that keep their shape and are machine washable for easy care, the pullover sweater keeps a pup both stylish and warm while lounging around on those brisk days.

Savvy pet store owners will do their research on the demographics and the interests of their local community. Thus, by keying on the specific lifestyles of their customers, pet stores will be able to better serve them and their companion animals. After all, retailers who are knowledgeable about the people and happenings in the local area will ultimately find success by stocking the pet products that are best suited to their companion animals.